Getting Over the Hump in Your Recovery ~ blog
Every addictive behavior requires the person struggling to get free for a period of time called withdrawal. Withdrawal is a process that has to be worked through. It comes easier for some than others, but it is simply your body, which has become used to the substances or behaviors being done in order to feel normal.
What happens in the process of becoming addicted it that you try something once and it is an experience that your body likes. There is something in the substance you are using or the action you are taking that has a positive effect on your brain. The caffeine in your coffee, the nicotine in your tobacco, the alcohol in your drink, or the entire experience of looking at porn and acting out registers in your brain as enjoyable and you want to do it again.
You find the actions easy to turn to when you are becoming stressed or upset. Weekly becomes daily because your body has transitioned from just liking it to needing it to feel normal. And when this happens to suddenly stop giving your body what you have been giving it results in these types of reactions.
* Irritability * Anxiety * Depression * Sleeplessness * Agitation
* Loss of interest in life * Vomiting * Sweating * Chills * Heart palpitations
* Tremors and shaking * Constipation * Hyperactivity * Feeling raw
* Indigestion * Itchy skin * Anger * Inability to think straight * Feeling numb
* Fatigue * Bad dreams * Emotional instability * Aches and pains
* Inability to concentrate * Hypersensitivity * Boredom * Despair * Grief
* Loss of energy * Sadness * Physical and emotional discomfort
You might just think that you are having a bad day but no, it is your mind and body telling you to give it what it needs to feel normal again. It wants a fix that does not fix anything.
So, what should you expect on this journey we call withdrawal when it comes to porn and sexual sin? The first thing you need to know it that this is not an exercise you only get one shot at it. If you try and fail that does not mean you cannot achieve the freedom you are seeking. It is not a one and/or done exercise.
This can be very frustrating because we want immediate results. However, ask yourself how long has porn and acting out been a part of your life? For me, it was 40 years. However, even if it only 4 years what has become a weekly or daily habit will not die easily. It is going to take time, education, and support from others.
Remember if a lone sheep is a dead sheep then what is the problem that needs to be solved? Easy answer…stop being a lone sheep!!!
If you walk into any Alcohol or Narcotics or Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting and tell them you have an addiction here is one of the first things they will tell you to do. They will say do a 90 in 90. And by that, they mean to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. Go to a meeting every day. When I first heard that I thought it was crazy…but now I know why they say it. It is because when you try and stop an addictive behavior you will start to battle strong temptation and so you will need to go to a meeting every day for 90 days to get through all the powerful effects of addiction calling you back to act out again.
You will rationalize. You will tell yourself this will be the last time. You will do just about anything to stop the withdrawal symptoms and do whatever it takes to end the struggle of withdrawal. I know you want to believe you are strong enough. You believe that God Himself wants to help you and will help you so who needs others? You do…and so does everyone else.
So, here are my rules for getting through withdrawal.
Rule # 1 – You get as many chances as you need! And you may or may not need a lot of chances. This is a powerful addiction in which you have become entangled and it is not going to let go easily. Your flesh has delighted in your sexual sin and will do anything to get you to go back to it. The world has made porn and sensual images omnipresent and demonic forces will always encourage another slip, another crossing your boundary on your way to another fall.
Rule # 2 – You must have daily support available to you!! I don’t care how strong you think you are or how high your resolve might be this time. Even if your job, marriage, and family are at stake you will find a way to convince yourself one more time will be ok. If you keep trying on your own, you can expect a long road of continuing failures to be in your future.
12 Step Groups have addicts get sponsors or people who have a season of sobriety for them to be there for you and help you when you are being tempted. At 180 we solve this problem by having each member of every Online Support Team connected daily with GroupMe or WhatsApp so that the entire team is available when someone sends an alert asking for help. They even have one another’s phone numbers to give and receive calls. Every member on every team is supposed to text in how they are doing every day to either ask for help or to give help.
Rule # 3 – You must learn from your mistakes!!! Is that not something we all do in so many areas of our lives? We make a mistake and depending on how big a mistake it is, we figure out how to not make that same mistake again. Here again, is where being on a team helps you. There are people who have fought this battle and are winning. They have learned what they needed to do to stop falling and are willing to help you as well.
Eventually, if you do the work to get through withdrawal fighting through the difficulties and temptations you will get Over the Hump and something wonderful happens. You begin to feel better and see things more clearly. You even begin to stop your self-loathing because you have accomplished a major step in your recovery…getting through withdrawal.